Concerns about Hmong leadership draws protesters in Wausau
About 100 people in the Hmong community protested Saturday against Wausau Area Hmong Mutual Association leaders, claiming they have violated the association’s bylaws.
Members of the 15-person WAHMA board met inside Trinity Lutheran Church on Stewart Avenue this morning while as many as 75 sign-carrying protesters stood outside in near-freezing temperatures.
The protesters claim that the WAHMA board members have refused to step down after their terms expired March 21, hold an annual meeting, have elections and reverse several changes to the organization’s bylaws.
The most significant change made to the bylaws switches the association from a group that allows all members over the age of 18 to have a vote to a group that is controlled only by board members, said Ying Yang, 34, of Wausau, and one of the leaders of the protest effort.
“The organization should be governed by the members as a check and balance to make sure funds are handled properly,” Yang said with a group of protesters outside of the WAHMA office in the 1100 block of Sixth Street.
Eighteen-year-old Gaonou Lo of Wausau carried a sign outside Trinity Church demanding that an election be held. She said many people in the Hmong community no longer trust the WAHMA leaders.
“They are people we voted into office. They should be looking out for us,” Lo said.
Board president Chawa Xiong was meeting inside Trinity and was not immediately available for comment. Some protesters carried signs demanding that Xiong resign.